Analysis Exclusive

Shah’s 2015 bankruptcy case was 2nd in 7 years. Here are questions she has not answered about undeclared bail-out

MP’s home also subject of bankruptcy restriction in 2008 – yet she did not declare 2015 bail-out that saved parliamentary candidacy
Bradford West MP Naz Shah

As the SKWAWKBOX showed exclusively last week, Tom Watson’s driver and fixer Bill Gavan boasted that ‘we’ – he and unnamed others – had arranged a bail-out of tens of thousands of pounds for Bradford West MP Naz Shah when she was first a parliamentary candidate.

Shah, he said, was facing a court case to declare her bankrupt over an unpaid legal debt – which could have made her ineligible to stand as a candidate or to sit as an MP if elected.

Although the SKWAWKBOX first put details and questions about the origin of the money – and her failure to declare the sum in her parliamentary register of interests – to Ms Shah in October last year, she did not respond.


Now the SKWAWKBOX can reveal that the 2015 case was not the first bankruptcy action that Naz Shah had faced – as the land registry records for her property reveal that a bankruptcy notice and restriction were placed against the house in 2008:

2008 Land Registry entries showing Bankrupty Notice and Bankruptcy Restriction

Ms Shah did not respond to a question about the debt involved in the 2008 case and whether it had been repaid.

2014/15: desperation

Salma Mir’s 2013 claim on Naz Shah

When fitness instructor Salma Mir won her case against Naz Shah for unpaid fees, Naz Shah’s letters to the court revealed her inability to pay the debt – and her desperation as she realised that she could be forced to sell her house to pay the debt.

A hearing was held in June 2014. Shah failed to attend and judgment was made against her for an initial sum of over £15,000, plus costs:

Shah wrote to the court with a series of excuses for her failure to appear and a plea for the judgment to be set aside. Her statement revealed that she was financially insecure and ‘fragile’:

The judge was not persuaded by Naz Shah’s case and in July 2014 rejected her application to set the judgment aside.

In November of that year – less than four months before Shah was imposed on Bradford West Labour members as their general election candidate – a ‘Final Charging Order’ was issued instructing that she must pay an increased sum, including costs and interest:

Shah responded by again trying to have the judgment set aside, telling the court that she was representing herself as there were no funds to pay for legal advice.

In her application letter, she put on record her realisation that failure to pay the debt could result in the forced sale of her home – and her recognition that a bankruptcy order would affect her future employment prospects:

She was again unsuccessful.

The bail-out

Less than three months later, in 2 March 2015 – after reportedly coming last in the vote among Bradford West Labour members – Naz Shah was imposed on the local party as its candidate by Labour’s National Executive Committee. Her court-mandated debt to Salma Mir was still unsettled.

Parliamentary law states that bankruptcy will disqualify a candidate or MP who has a ‘Bankruptcy Restrictions Order’ (BRO) made against them. Given the continued failure to pay her debt to Salma Mir and the 2008 bankruptcy order noted in the Land Registry record, such an order must have seemed a serious possibility.

Nine days later and less than three months after telling the court that neither she nor the business could afford legal representation, let alone to pay the funds ordered, Naz Shah made a bank transfer of £27,552.52 to settle the debt:

Naz Shah was aware that her home was at risk. She was aware that a bankruptcy order would affect her job prospects. She had just been selected to stand for election for a position that she would not have been allowed to hold if the court made a BRO against her – and she had told the court that she was in dire financial straits.

Bill Gavan was subsequently recorded boasting that he and others – ‘we’ – had raised the funds to pay Shah’s debt and rescue her candidacy. That conversation can be heard here.

Yet she has never declared the receipt – or the source – of the £27,552.52 in the parliamentary Register of MPs’ Financial Interests, whose purpose is to ensure transparency concerning potential influence over an MP’s actions, words and votes.

The SKWAWKBOX put the following questions to Ms Shah several days ago:

  1. who gave or loaned you the funds?
  2. did you repay the sum and if so when and to whom?
  3. did you repay the person or entity who made the 2008 application and if so, when?
  4. do you deny the assertion by Tom Watson’s driver Bill Gavan that he and others raised the funds for you to save your candidacy?
  5. given that the Mir case was the second bankruptcy application against you, did you feel that the risk of a Bankruptcy Restrictions Order that would have ruled you out as a candidate/MP was higher?
  6. given that your house was at risk as well as your candidacy, the bail-out must have created a considerable sense of indebtedness to whomever had arranged it. Since the reason for the register of MPs’ financial interests is transparency around potential influence over an MP’s votes or actions, why didn’t you declare the donation/loan?
  7. by what means and via which person or entity were the funds transferred to you?
  8. were you ever asked to vote, speak or act in any way by the people who arranged the bail-out, or in connection with it?

She had, again, not responded by the time of publication.

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      1. What has the Labourlist article/story got to do with Naz Shah not declaring her bankruptcy(s) Steve??

      2. Allan – Have you bothered to actually read the full article. Check the order of events from the beginning of Oct19 and the various allegiances between those involved. As I keep repeating Why now and who gains by undermining Naz Shah.

        Allan you should also ask yourself if there was really anything to see here why didn’t those in the know immediately present their evidence to the relevant parliamentary authorities and the NEC. Has any official complaint been lodged.

        ps She wasn’t made bankrupt.

      3. As sure as eggs is eggs, it’s not about a concern for propriety – just about a sectarian squabble and the age-old personal advantage.

        If you can’t sniff stinking fish, and dubious motives, you’ve lost your sense of smell.

      4. Although this happened in 2015, what we DON’T know is when the recording was made – ie when Bill Gavan said this to whoever. It would be helpful if we knew. And I doubt that Gavan just happened to come out with this of his own accord, but that the person he was talking to steered the conversation that way because they had prior knowledge AND wanted to get it on tape (so to speak). In the initial skwawkbox story a week ago, it says the following…..

        Bill Gavan was contacted in 2019 and again on Monday. He claimed that he had just been spinning the eventual whistleblower ‘a yarn’

        Yeah sure, as if anyone would just spontaneously make up and come out with such a yarn! But the fact that he says this is surely just further evidence of very dodgy dealings going on!

      5. You know exactly what I mean Steve….. she was ABOUT to be made bankrupt, and THAT’s the whole point AND the fact that she didn’t declare the matter.

        Yes, exactly, why NOW and not at the time or shortly thereafter. If you wanted to undermine her, then surely you would have done it way back then, and not wait over four years before doing so.

        And I DID read the full article, obviously, but perhaps YOU would be good enough to spell out this time-line you’re referring to.

      6. If there was nothing to hide and it was all above board, then why didn’t she declare it? Steve? RH?

        And why won’t either SHE or Bill Gavan respond to skwawkbox’s questions if it was all above board and, as such, end the speculation?

      7. Allan – I have absolutely no idea, do you know why instead of reporting this to the authorities those in the know have decided to indulge in trial by media.

      8. Allan Howard 05/02/2020 at 7:42 pm
        “Approached by WHO to answer these questions? Skwawkbox?”

        I don’t know, SB doesn’t make that clear in his previous article. All SB tells us in his previous article is “Naz Shah was first contacted for comment over Gavan’s claims in October last year.”

      9. Allan – In absolute terms I don’t know for certain whether it has been reported or not to the NEC but I would be very surprised if it had been that SB wouldn’t have told us to add weight to his accusations.

        As for the Standards Committee (which is the one that really matters) I’m not sure that you are right about your claims of confidentiality because I can recall frequent occasions where the MSM have reported that an MP has been reported to the Standards Committee.

        I say again, ask yourself who gains from undermining Naz.

      10. And what media is THAT Steve. And how would we know whether or not the matter has been reported to the NEC etc. Perhaps it has. Such things are dealt with confidentially.

  1. This is serious stuff, credit where it’s due to the Skwawker. Far more relevant than the stuff about Karie Murphy. I’ll bet a few more MP’s have got skeletons in the closet. If Shah said “Look I was in the shit and I asked some (named) people to help me out and I’ve repaid them out of my wages over the last (few) years”, I think most people would have a bit of sympathy. If she refuses to name or show evidence the debt was repaid or written off it is definitely not a good place to be and accusations of partiality or undue influence are bound to follow.

  2. I have no idea about the whys and wherefores of the above but there is no doubt whatsoever that Naz Shah is exceptionally popular in her constituency.
    She defeated George Galloway in 2015 with a vote share of 49.6%, then in 2017 when Salma Yaqoob stood against her she upped her vote share to 64.7% and to top it off, unlike many other Labour MPs she increased her vote again in 2017 to a record 76.2%. If only all our candidates in the last GE had been anywhere near as successful as her.

    1. I think it might be my fault – I seem to have broken the internazi.

    2. SteveH said EXACTLY the same thing LAST week. Here’s what he said:

      “Naz Shah was first contacted for comment over Gavan’s claims in October last year. “

      If there really is anything to see here I am somewhat surprised that those ‘in the know’ didn’t see fit to immediately report their suspicions and evidence to both the Labour Party and the parliamentary authorities.

      It is worth noting that Naz Shah is obviously very popular in her constituency. Unlike many other Labour MPs she has substantially and consistently increased her share of the vote from 49.5% (when she defeated George Galloway) to 64.7% in 2017 (when Salma Yaqoob contested the seat) and to 76.2% in 2019 (a record for the constituency).

      And what’s your point in saying this in relation to the bankruptcy Steve?

      NB And note the post by RH at the top of the comments (and others) in the initial thread! AND the fact that he made sure it was the first one (what with the shills constantly monitoring skwawkbox). Yep, both RH and SH playing the story down and being dismissive of it. I wonder why!

      1. “both RH and SH playing the story down and being dismissive of it. I wonder why!”

        You’d have to be pretty thick not to work out that it’s not very new or newsworthy, and therefore throws suspicion on the motives of this bit of partisan ‘investigative’ journalism. Hardly the most venal of sins to expose, and certainly not in the order of some dodgy dealings a bit closer to home.

        I think most of us could work out that there’s a few thousand more relevant/interesting stories for a ‘left wing’ blog to be pursuing!

        Still – the Guardian probably has space for it, since it’s a bit of Labour MP bashing.

    3. Correction
      unlike many other Labour MPs she increased her vote again in 2017 2019 to a record 76.2%.

    4. ”If only all our candidates in the last GE had been anywhere near as successful as her.”

      Yeah – if ONLY, eh, steve?


  3. Sorry it’s been so long since I posted anything totally off topic – I hope this makes up for it 🙂
    I must be the last person on the internet to discover First Aid Kit

  4. ” If only all our candidates in the last GE had been anywhere near as successful as her…”…you would have ended up with a PLP full of members owing their positions not to the local party members, nor to the electorate but to the anonymous interests ‘owning’ them.
    It is well known that Watson received large and regular funding from Max Mosley and others. Such donations provide a potential slush fund to be used secretly to bail out MPs and candidates in trouble.
    In this particular case it is quite clear that the wishes of the membership of the party-which ought to be sovereign- were set aside, on spurious grounds to ensure that this candidate was nominated in the first place.
    When will Blairites learn that you can either have a democracy or not-there is no such thing as a guided, supervised or modified democracy? Even when the supervision comes from such outstanding champions of the common people as Lord McNicholl, Mandelson or Watson.

    1. I seem to remember that a substantial number of PPCs were imposed on constituencies in the last GE. What’s your excuse for those

    2. Bevin comment is hard to fathom. Is he saying that any Labour MP with a thumping majority must owe it to unnamed financial backers!? If bevin has evidence we should be told. I did not know that Max Mosley was giving Watson large amounts of dosh on a regular basis. Where was it spent I wonder? Any idea anyone? I assume that’s in the Register of Members Interests or similar, otherwise he should be preparing himself for a porridge diet.

    3. Sorry, but no. The all-women shortlist was imposed but not the candidates. The first two withdrew, leaving Naz. Why do you think we had to have an all-women shortlist? I’ll tell you; because patriarchal groupings would otherwise have strengthened their grip on power in an entirely, and I mean entirely, anti-democratic manner, thus ensuring we’d carry on with minimally competent councillors who only got the job because they were someone’s relative.
      You see how wrong you are? I question why Squawkbox has decided to unearth this. As Steve has pointed out, Naz’s majority increased. Some people don’t like that. Who and why?

      1. You don’t think the failure to declare almost £30k, the provision of which was boasted about by the then-deputy leader’s driver-cum-fixer, should be ‘unearthed’? Remarkable

  5. Dammit, wrong link. It was supposed to start with their song Emmylou with Emmylou Harris in the audience in tears – about the only country music singer I could ever tolerate.
    Spent an hour on YouTube listening to these two and every song was great.

    1. Try Mary Gauthier,especially her early stuff,and Iris Dement’s Wasteland of the Free is an absolute anthem for today’s USA.

  6. ….and as with any ‘prospective’ PPC she would have had to declare to the NEC any past matters which might cause concern or embarrassment to the party – obviously did – or did not?

  7. Allan – Thanks for repeating my earlier post on a similar subject. The question I am having difficulty in answering is why now, and why the campaign to undermine a very popular Labour MP. What’s the end game here.

    1. You’re the only one on here claiming its all a campaign to undermine her Steve. Strange how you’re not curious as to why she didn’t declare any of this AND why she doesn’t respond to skwawkbox’ inquiries AND the circumstances by which she came by the money etc and who it was that was involved. I wonder why.

      1. What time-lines are those Steve? It’s not like you to not elaborate!.

      2. Allan – At the beginning of Sept19 Naz Shah raised concerns about Salma Yaqoob’s fitness for office and then in Oct19 Shah is approached with demands to answer these questions. Do you really think that after all this time that this was just a coincidence.

      3. Approached by WHO to answer these questions? Skwawkbox?

      4. I also claim it’s a campaign to undermine her, and I am one of Naz’s electors in Bradford West.
        Squawkbox obviously are entirely ignorant of the real situation in Bradford West. Naz was not imposed; the other two candidates withdrew. The all-women shortlist was imposed as an attempt to break the grip of patriarchal groupings on power in the area.
        Trying to undermine Naz serves only the interests of anti-democratic forces.

      5. The other two candidates withdrew? The winner – by a distance – reportedly withdrew under pressure to do so. In any event, Ms Shah *was* imposed by an NEC panel, which I believe included Keith Vaz and which Watson’s driver said included another well-known W Mids right-winger. Those are just the facts, what you make of them is up to you – though that you said in another comment that Ms Shah’s financial non-declaration shouldn’t be unearthed is astonishing.

    2. The jury that really counts is her electors, if she tells them what happened and they support her at the ballot box that is the end of it for me. Everyone has been in the shit with debt at some stage for a host of reasons. For all we know she told party officials about it at the time. Backbenchers seem to know John 8: 3-7 pretty well. ” Let they that are without sin, cast the first stone”. Etc.

      1. Plain citizen – At last a voice of reason, she’s obviously very popular in her constituency having increased her share of the vote from 49% to 72%.

      2. ‘Everyone has been in the shit with debt at some stage for a host of reasons’. What a sweeping statement! And how would YOU know Pc? And just HOW exactly would she tell her electors what happened, and I think we can safely assume that she hasn’t, so why say it would be the end of it for YOU. Forgive me for saying so, but you’re talking nonsense.

        So she gets a loan of £26,000 the day before she’s due to appear in a bankruptcy court and gets it via a close associate of Tom Watson’s and doesn’t declare it etc, etc, but that’s OK is it.

        I assume you’re not the same ‘Plain citizen’ as the one who was saying completely the opposite further up the page!

  8. By definition bankruptcy wipes out creditors, only exceptions are student fees, child maintenance and tax,
    Your property is only under threat if there is equity in it,
    A charge is a County Court Judgement secured against your property, where there is enough equity to cover it, then the district judge will make a decision on whether or not to force a sale,
    It has nothing to do with bankruptcy
    Sorry Skwawk cannot comment on stuff you have posted, dont have full picture

  9. To Allan H. I said if she makes a clean breast of, it possibly to her CLP, everything gets on social media so we will all know. In previous posts I’ve said I’ve been on UC and like many traditional working class labour voters I have had to cope with the stresses of debt and the bailiffs visit. I don’t think it makes me a bad person except apparently in your eyes. Possibly you Old Etonians don’t have those issues to deal with, Daddy bailed you out? I think ordinary people will give her the benefit if she opts for full disclosure. You would be amazed how forgiving and sympathetic people can be. Not you obviously from your self righteous arrogance toward ordinary folk struggling with the pressures of life on a small income.

  10. A cover up of having to hush hush who paid off a large debt to prevent her losing office leaves her potentially compromised to blackmail etc. Precisely why rules are there to protect us from elected officials being bent. Regardless that chief whips have info to exclude half of parliament if required.

  11. Dirty washing in public,I realise the implications for coercion etc etc etc,but this digging in the public eye doesnt do anyone any favours.The Torys have many ex Bankrupt Mps ,people like Michael Heseltine 3times and it was once considered a badge of honour amongst the business class to have risked or made bankrupt to be taken seriously.I think enough has been said against the mp and she will have to explain in her own a time of her choosing.Give it a rest squawkbox and we shouldn’t have to sacrifice a popular mp to nail Twatson.

  12. Maybe NAZ could help the many working class people being buried in debt by these sharks.She knows what destruction and misery these finance services bring to the working class communities.Britains bankruptcy laws are like the country archaic and unforgiving,much like some of the comments on here about Shah.In many ways the loan shark days of knock on the door were kinder than the long term damage from Bankrupcy can cause.The debt might be wiped eventually but the computer never forgets.

  13. If you cannot pay your non priority debts over 6 years then you are effectively insolvent, if you have no equity or assets worth more than £500 at auction and it doesn’t affect your job, then bankruptcy gives you a fresh start and wipes the slate clean
    Only barrier then is the fees £680
    We have a very good free advice sector, who are the recognised specialists in this area

    1. Doug you are partly right and the theory of bankruptcy “A..fresh start” But if a person has ambitions and is trying to start again it can be extremely difficult.with the credit scoring and company records.What they say and what happens down the food chain is not as easy has it should be.Their is a stigma still attached to Bankruptcy or just falling into the debt trap.Free advice sector needs to be accessed with care as many companys are working with the credit card companys.Nobody should be ashamed of debt but like Shah they can be terrified of the stigma Never forget who bailed out the biggest debtors(Banks),We the Joe public and we still are… problem if you dont need it.

      1. Joseph
        The stigma of debt is long gone
        It comes down to irresponsible lending against irresponsible borrowing
        We had a chance to address the debt epidemic in 2007 and it was ultimately Obama and Brown who bailed out the lenders, something that has never happened before in human history
        My last top tip is to use up any credit facilities you have left to cover the £680 bankruptcy fees
        Time to reintroduce the old fashioned notion of moral hazard to the lenders
        They are practically bankrupt themselves, only matter of time before the entire Ponzi scheme collapses, to big to fail, my arse
        Free advice sector
        Citizens Advice, Step Change, Christian’s against Poverty, Shelter, if they cant help you they know the folk who can

  14. ………..but she superimposed an outline of Israel on a map of USA. That act alone makes her an anti-Semite doesn’t it?

    1. Indeed – some of us remember that early incident of Trumped-up ‘antisemitism’ and her being hung out to dry by the very JLM clique that Watson supports.

      Stinking fish around this ‘revelation’.I would thought, in any case, that SB would more sympathetic in principle, given its recent bail-out.

  15. The only story I read of interest on Naz Shah, was the rabbi who supported her in Bradford and how it turned out the Muslim community had got together to keep that synagogue open
    All round good and decent people doing what’s right regardless

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